"He asked why I called myself Aboriginal because my dad wasn't Aboriginal and my mum was and asked me why I chose my Aboriginal side over my non-indigenous side," Tapsell says. "He naively thought that calling me half-caste was right when I grew up knowing that was a bad name for Aboriginal people."
From the 1900s until the 1960s the term half-caste was used by the Australian government to describe children who had one Aboriginal parent and one white parent.
Government policy allowed these children to be forcibly removed from their Aboriginal families, placed into children's homes and adopted out to white families, and denied their culture. The rationale behind the policy was that children with a white parent and lighter skin could assimilate into white culture, eventually breeding out any Indigenous heritage.
Now called the Stolen Generations, thousands of these children were taken from their families.
Tapsell said the insult upset her so much that she delivered a class speech about it.
"I decided to speak up in front of my class about how I felt and I asked the whole class why I had to define who I was and they didn't." she says.
"When I spoke up about my feelings and because I did it in such a passionate manner a lot of those boys stood up and jeered. For weeks after that I was taunted and teased and called different names."